Thursday, April 24, 2014

Found recipe: A pie made with Brer Rabbit syrup (or perhaps molasses)

This typed recipe was tucked away inside a copy of Jessie Marie DeBoth's Cook Book, which was published in 1940.

I was thrown off at first by the misspelling at the top of the recipe. "Baer Rabbit Syrup" actually refers to Brer Rabbit, which has been producing various varieties of molasses1 and syrup "for over 100 years," according to its website and is now part of B&G Foods. Regarding the product's name:

"The Brer Rabbit name comes from the mischievous Br’er Rabbit from the Uncle Remus folktales passed down by oral tradition in the 1800’s and popularized for mainstream audiences in the late 19th century by the published works of Joel Chandler Harris. In these tales, Br’er Rabbit is a trickster who wins by using his wits instead of brawn. Trickery and fun can certainly come in handy in the kitchen as you create winning dishes with Brer Rabbit!"

But what are we to make of the dessert outlined on this piece of ephemera? It seems like a standard, dry-bottom shoo-fly pie recipe, no? And you're supposed to use molasses instead of syrup, right? (It states "syrup" at the top and "molasses" down below, and those are two different products.)

An excellent history of shoo-fly pie appears in this 1998 Chicago Tribune article, which features the subhead "Crumbly, Sweet Confection Softens Spartan Image Of The Pennsylvania Dutch."

Share your thoughts on Brer Rabbit products and shoo-fly pie down in the comments section!

1. Indeed, according to the website, "Brer Rabbit molasses comes in three grades: Mild Flavor, Full Flavor and Blackstrap.
  • Mild Flavor: Lightest color and is the sweetest, is used to sweeten hot cereals, yogurts, or hot drinks, like coffee, tea or hot cocoa
  • Full Flavor: More concentrated and has a richer flavor than Mild, that is used in gingerbreads, cookies, pies, cakes, and glazes
  • Blackstrap: Bold, robust flavor used in slow-cooked dishes, like such as baked beans or barbeque sauces. Blackstrap is also an excellent source of Calcium and Magnesium and a good source of Potassium."

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